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Fairview Alumni Release Teaser for Apocalyptic Feature Film "Fireside"

By Sara McCrea and Anya Aidun in Arts & Culture

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All photos curtesy of Evan Groover

   2016 alum Evan Groover released a teaser on September 2nd for his upcoming apocalyptic feature film, “Fireside,” a project made completely by filmmakers under 20 years old.

Though only 53 seconds long, the teaser features just a taste of the film that will be released in December.

“The teaser trailer that has been sent out is the sole best high school effort I have seen in the world of cinema,” said film teacher Lanny Boyer.

The idea for “Fireside” came to Evan as a freshman, though he initially pictured it as a “zombie movie about Boy Scouts.” At the time, the idea started as a web series, but by the winter of his junior year Evan had put together the idea that would later develop into the full-length feature film.

Last summer, Evan attended a memorial service for his friend’s boyfriend who had committed suicide, and in that service he heard something that caught his attention and affected his thoughts on his project.

“I didn’t know the man very well, but I saw the effects of what it did to [my friend,]” said Groover. “She said that he did believe in good and evil in this world. He wasn’t a religious person, but he did believe in this difference between good and evil. What she thought was that he fell into that evil or that darkness. That really hit me, and that’s what Fireside is about.”

The themes the film handles go much deeper than the ones associated with other films in the apocalyptic genre. Groover’s goal was to make a statement about the corruption of humanity.

“One of the biggest things in the movie is we do what we do to survive. There are a lot of moral dilemmas, and a lot of stuff gets pushed aside in order to get things done, or to get to the next step. It’s about morality in survival,” said lead actress Emily Bollman.

 

“It strips people down to a very animalistic approach,” said Groover. “We see the bare bones of humanity, and it’s a lot more interesting to see humanity stripped down. It’s almost easier to examine it at that level.”

Although some underestimate high school filmmakers, Evan sees his young age as an advantage.

“I want filmmakers around the world to see this and say ‘Look, this kid is 18 but he still has complex stories to tell.’ Often where you are in your life has a unique perspective, and maybe having a perspective as an 18 year old might mean a lot to adults who don’t have the same perspective,” said Groover.

The 25 young adults involved with the making of the film spent the summer traveling to locations across Colorado to shoot the various scenes.

“With this film we would have days where we were filming from when we woke up until two or three in the morning,” said Sam Schrag, another Fairview alum who worked as the director of cinematography.

Though not everyone on set were Fairview alums or current students, Evan acknowledged that the Fairview film program helped him connect with many of the people involved with this project.

“Without going to Fairview I would not have found these people,” said Groover. “This film would not have been possible without them. You need a village to create this thing and Fairview supplied me with the village.”

Boyer spoke about the friends the film program creates and his experience with teaching Evan over the past 4 years.

“At Fairview, our students more so than being aligned with cliques are aligned with extracurricular programs,” said Boyer. “Evan’s extracurricular program was film. His desire to spend countless hours outside of the classroom working on this set him apart. If he wasn’t behind the camera he was at his workstation editing.”

Groover walked away from the set feeling like he had gained new skills from the project, and could be proud of what he and his team have accomplished.

“As a filmmaker just in general I feel I gained the confidence just to tell a story and the confidence to say something,” said Groover. “One of the biggest lessons I‘ve learned from this was how to respect people, which I think didn’t just make me a better filmmaker but also a better person.”

“Fireside” will have theatrical screenings this winter at Cinnebar in Louisville, following the full trailer which will be released in November or December.

 

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